Playwright Josefina L??pez on Travel to Boyle Heights
"Tons of heritage still exists and thrives here, and we are just a few minutes from Downtown L.A. and Hollywood!"
Anthony McBride, LatinFlyer.com
Originally published at LatinFlyer.com. Republished by permission.
Published on LatinoLA: February 5, 2015
Josefina L??pez, the highly-celebrated award-winning Latina playwright, author, producer, activist and Founding Artistic Director of CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights, California, is currently working on a musical version of her groundbreaking multiple-award-winning play, screenplay and film that broke Latin barriers, here. Real Women Have Curves. As L??pez's CASA 0101 Theater enters it's 15th "Quincea??era" Season, she recently launched another company in the burgeoning Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles, Teatro Para Todos (Theatre For All), to present theatrical fare in Spanish. She also has a new pilot show in development for ABC Television.
LatinFlyer attended and sat down with Josefina L??pez at the World Premier of Clean Start at CASA 0101 Theater. Her new play, which she co-wrote with Kathy Fischer, is a finely threaded romp and is virtually sit-com ready. Josefina L??pez gave us some insight into her Latin roots, her travels and why Boyle Heights is becoming one of L.A.'s most enriching travel destinations.
Anthony McBride (AM): Your play Real Women Have Curves, which became a major-motion picture, was and still is a huge success for you. Is Real Women still a shining gem of pride in the Latino community?
Josefina L??pez (JL): It's one of the few films that portrays Latinos in a more realistic way than in the past. I believe it is considered a gem because it shows characters with dignity and neither presents us as loyal servants or drug dealing bad guys. It's studied in high schools and universities, so I'm happy that my film has made the impact that it has.
AM: Tell LatinFlyer readers about your current production of Clean Start at CASA 0101 Theater in Boyle Heights.
JL: It's about a broke Beverly Hills socialite who is forced to go live with her Latina maid in East L.A. because none of her "friends" will take her in, because her rich husband swindled everyone out of money in a Ponzi scheme. It's a Latina "Golden Girls," with four women sitting around the house dishing on each other. It's a funny comedy about women working it out. It's the perfect play for women to bring their crazy girlfriends and laugh at.
AM: You are well known and celebrated as an activist for not only Latina woman but on immigration issues in general. What do you feel is the current climate of immigration in America?
JL: We are finally, as a country, forced to talk about immigration, because we can no longer ignore it because it's now front page news. I am happy we are forced to no longer ignore the people American's once rendered "invisible."
AM: You were born in beautiful San Luis Potos?¡, Mexico. Do you get to visit often?
JL: My parents retired and went back to Mexico, so I visit them every two years in San Luis Potosi!
AM: Being a Latina with a French husband, which cultural traditions are most prevalent at home?
JL: Latin traditions are most prevalent in my home, because all my family is in Los Angeles and we have a lot of family reunions where we celebrate our cultural traditions.
AM: You live and work in Boyle Heights, California, a predominately Latin neighborhood. How enriching and viable is Boyle Heights and its surroundings for tourism?
JL: I love Boyle Heights. There are many wonderful restaurants here and my theater, CASA 0101, is a great place to visit and watch powerful theater. This is a true neighborhood, with its own Metro underground stations. Tons of heritage still exists and thrives here, and we are just a few minutes from Downtown L.A. and Hollywood! With the police station across from my theater, it's one of the safest areas -- despite East L.A.'s infamous reputation.
AM: The Boyle Heights arts district is fortunate to have you as a huge proponent of its growth. Why are you so passionate about this area?
JL: There is so much Latino talent in Los Angeles and very few platforms to showcase that talent. I want to create an arts district with several theater venues and stages to present all this talent. I try to inspire other artists to see themselves as producers, so they don't wait to be "discovered." With all the talent in Boyle Heights, we can light up First Street!
AM: Besides the wonderful weather, why do you think Los Angeles is such a popular travel destination?
JL: Everyone wants to be rich and famous -- it's what people think will make them happy and heal the wounds of feeling separate and abandoned -- and Los Angeles is the mecca of golden dreams and lies. The fact that it's a desert that refuses to comply with its reality is the perfect place for the impossible.
AM: You have two young sons, are you mostly a kid-friendly traveler these days?
JL: Yes, I mostly do family-friendly getaways because my boys have ADD and have no patience for boring adult things.
AM: What is your favorite travel destination?
JL: I love going to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and plan to retire there, because it's one of the most beautiful places on earth and it's where I feel at home.
AM: What points of interest in Boyle Heights should LatinFlyer readers put on their travel itinerary?
JL: Besides CASA 0101 Theater, I would easily say Serenata De Garibald, East Side Luv and Guisados.
AM: What is your favorite Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles?
JL: Serenata de Garibaldi ÔÇô just three blocks west of my theater CASA 0101 here in Boyle Heights!
AM: What is your favorite cocktail, whether at home or traveling?
JL: Margarita of course! But Apple Martini comes a very close second.
AM: If you could stay in one Hotel, anywhere in the world, which one would it be?
JL: The Biltmore!
Clean Start runs through February 15th at CASA 0101 Theater 2102 E 1st St. in Boyle Heights, California. For all things Josefina L??pez visit www.Josefinalopez.co or www.CASA0101.org or call (323) 263-7684.
Anthony McBride, LatinFlyer.com:
Anthony McBride is a journalist, radio co-producer and Special Events & Travel Editor for one of L.A.'s premier Family and Lifestyle Magazines.